Q uses her continuous glucose monitor almost always. She’s only had a few short breaks in the almost 1.5 years we’ve been using it. Two week long breaks were to go to diabetes camp this year and last. There was a one week break where I waited too long to reorder sensors and two fluke sensor fails left us without. And there was a week this August that we were, um, unintentionally without a working DexCom receiver.
Q does a lot of swimming in the summer. She had daily swim lessons for a couple of weeks and we have a small above ground pool.
Q and I got in the habit that the minute she put on her swimsuit, she took off her DexCom receiver and put it on the counter at home or in the swim bag if we were going to the public pool.
You see, the DexCom receiver is not waterproof.
Our system worked perfectly. Until it didn’t.
On a camping trip she put on her swimsuit and handed the receiver to her dad to put in the bag. Since he wasn’t privy to our routine and didn’t realize she was doing exactly as I had taught her, he told her to put it back on until they actually got to the pool. When she ran ahead and jumped in fifteen minutes later, she had completely forgotten she was wearing it.
Even though it was taken off pretty quickly, it was soaked.
Not wanting to let diabetes ruin their day, my husband let the kids swim and then went into town later in the day to find a bag of rice.
Well, it was easy for water to get in the Dex, but not so easy for it to get out.
It sat in rice for a good week and a half. I even baked it several times because I didn’t think it could break any worse at that point.*
There was no way this sucker was coming back to life.
Without the CGM, Q had her all time lowest low of 30 while on the camping trip. In that week and a half that the Dex sat in rice she had two blood sugars in the 30’s, two in the 40’s, plus some 400’s!!
She was all over the place and it solidified in my mind how useful a tool the CGM is for us because we can catch lows before they are too low and we can keep her from being in the high range for too long.
And those 30’s and 40’s are dangerous and shocking.
So I had given up all hope at the week mark that it was ever coming back to life and I contacted DexCom and our durable medical company about replacing it. Luckily we were out of warranty and could submit to insurance. (DexCom does offer a ONE TIME replacement for $200, but I wanted to save that get out of jail card for another time if possible.)
Then one day at about the week-and-a-half mark, I was in the kitchen and I thought I heard a buzz.
Could it be? Was that the DexCom? Back from the dead?
So I plugged it in.
And it started charging.
Huh. What do you know.
So we put on a new sensor and it worked.
But the water definitely affected it. (Water damage is NOT covered by the warranty, by the way.) It wouldn’t keep a charge for more than a day, which was pretty inconvenient. And though the alarms would sound, it would not vibrate as it was supposed to.
It kept chugging along until the new one was approved by insurance (once again, it was good timing that our original DexCom was out of warranty at this point) and shipped and (sat in a warehouse for several long days over the holiday weekend) and finally arrived on our doorstep.
There are several posts that I refer people to all the time (Beginning the Pump because of the video of Q’s first meal with a pump and not injections, the Kids First, Diabetes Second book page, the OpSite Flexifix tutorial, and 504 Plans), but an essay I wrote for Diabetes Forecast this summer doesn’t even do justice the value that I find in CGM. The value that I am so used to at this point, that I didn’t realize how much we relied on it until it was waterlogged and sitting in rice.
Continuous glucose monitor use isn’t right for every child and every family, but boy is it helpful for us.
And Another Thing…
More posts about the continuous glucose monitor (CGM)
More posts about swimming
*I am definitely not giving you the advice to bake your diabetes equipment and if you do so, it is certainly at your own risk and I claim absolutely no responsibility for it.
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